Nova Scotia Health Authority to Make Waves in Radiation Therapy

News Release

Government of Canada supports global commercialization of precision radiotherapy technologies for cancer patients                   

June 23, 2017– Halifax, NS – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Over fifty percent of cancer patients receive radiation therapy to help manage their disease. By 2030, it is estimated that there will be a 68% increase in the incidence of cancer globally. Researchers at the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) are working to develop and improve five radiotherapy and radiosurgery technologies. The research will result in improved treatment accuracy that will spare healthy tissues and organs, resulting in better patient outcomes.

The Government of Canada is making a $2,065,202 investment in the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) to assist with the development of these five novel radiotherapy technologies. This funding will support the hiring of eight highly-skilled individuals full-time, including three PhD students. Monies are also allocated toward purchasing specialized equipment and introducing the technology to market more quickly.

The federal funding was announced today by Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions and Member of Parliament for Halifax, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

Stefan Vilsmeier, Founder and CEO of the international medical technology company Brainlab, was present today to announce its partnership with the NSHA. Brainlab will help bring the technology to market and distribute NSHA’s products internationally. Brainlab supplies products to over 100 countries and operates offices in Europe, Asia, Australia and North and South America. Royalty revenues from this intellectual property will help NSHA to fund future research and commercialization efforts and retain top medical physics talent.

This project demonstrates the Government of Canada’s focused approach to economic development through innovation. Over the next five years, all six regional development agencies, including ACOA, will invest a total of $1.5 billion to strengthen innovation capacity and economic growth in each region of the country. Part of these investments will go towards supporting regional organizations like the Nova Scotia Health Authority that are developing new technologies to boost their innovation capacity and competitiveness.


“Innovation isn’t just about finding solutions that make our lives better; it’s about improving everyone’s quality of life. That is why the Government of Canada is committed to supporting projects such as this one, which will have an international impact while enhancing Atlantic Canada’s ability to compete in the global marketplace.”

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

“The research team at the Nova Scotia Health Authority has established an international reputation. Their partnership with Munich-based Brainlab focuses on bringing the technology to market where it will benefit people around the world. Targeted investments in organizations like NSHA are helping us grow beyond our borders in line with the Atlantic Growth Strategy.” 

Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions and Member of Parliament for Halifax 

“Every year, about 6,000 Nova Scotians are diagnosed with cancer. This important investment will improve care for patients who need radiation therapy as part of their cancer treatment. Innovation is a core value at Nova Scotia Health Authority. This funding recognizes the world-leading research our Medical Physics team is doing and we are excited by the opportunities it presents to create novel technologies to deliver radiation therapy in new and more effective ways.”

Janet Knox, President & CEO, Nova Scotia Health Authority

 “The efficacy of radiation therapy depends critically on the accuracy with which cancer is targeted. Investments by and collaboration with ACOA and Brainlab will not only allow our Medical Physics team to further the state-of-the-art in this regard, but will establish a channel ensuring that improvements may reach patients around the world.”

Dr. James Robar, Chief Medical Physicist, Nova Scotia Health Authority

Quick Facts

  • ACOA’s innovation programming, which includes the Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) and the Business Development Program (BDP), is designed to help bring to market new products, technologies and services that will improve the competitiveness and productivity of the Atlantic economy. 

  • In 2016, the Government of Canada, through ACOA’s AIF, invested more than $35 million in 16 innovation and R&D projects in the Atlantic region. 

  • In any given year, approximately 300 Nova Scotia Health Authority researchers are engaged in more than 1,300 research projects. This translates into about $28M in annual research revenues.

Associated Links


Lori Selig
Communications Manager
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Cell: (902) 266-7477

Kristen Lipscombe
Senior Advisor, Media Relations
Halifax Infirmary
Cell: (902) 478-9736
Media line: 1 (844) 483-3344


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